NU 107: The home of 'nu rock' no more

by Joel Caballero, ANC

Posted at Nov 06 2010 12:37 AM | Updated as of Nov 10 2010 04:41 AM

Atom Henares during an interview on ANC's Headstart, November 5, 2010. (ANC screengrab)

MANILA, Philippine - It's the end of an era. NU 107, "the home of 'nu' (new) rock" will temporarily go off the air and soon resurface with a new format.

In an interview with TJ Manotoc on ANC's Headstart on Friday, NU 107 co-founder Atom Henares thanked all the musicians, fans and other supporters who made their 23-year run successful.

"When I made the anouncement to my staff, the first thing I did was thank them for doing such a good job with the rock awards. Short on time, short on budget but big on heart, and I think that sums up NU 107: it's our having the mission and passion to see it through. It's our love for the station," Henares said.

"In the Raw"

When asked if they will continue broadcasting music through the internet, Henares only said they are working on it.

He also recalled various "firsts" NU 107 made through the years, like their program, "In The Raw," where amateur bands were given the chance to showcase their songs.

Henares added that the late President Corazon Aquino was intrumental in the formation of the show when she issued an executive order requiring radio stations to air at least three Original Pilipino Music (OPM) hourly.

"It was really good music, they just had no place to showcase it, and we said okay. To comply with the OPM (requirement), we invited everyone to send their recordings and we put up a show called 'In The Raw.' It was rock n' roll in its rawest form. Eventually, we got a following behind it," Henares explained.

Another innovation was the NU Rock Awards.

"The rock awards started as a party to thank all the rock community. Seventeen years ago, we put up this party in this small place called Music Hall. It no longer exists but we had people like (Joey) Pepe Smith, Freddie Aguilar, Grace Nono was there," Henares said.

It has become one of the most anticipated musical events in the country, featuring the "who's who" in the local music industry.

The 17th and final NU Rock Awards was held last October 29.

Henares also observed that the rock genre has evolved and continues to evolve as old and new bands inject new material over the airwaves.

He added that there are bands that have left their mark with their distinct sound.

"The first Rock Awards was characterized by people like The Dawn, After Image... and then it moved to the 'mestizo bands' like Razorback and Wolfgang, then it moved to the Eraserheards and Parokya (ni Edgar), which is so Filipino and then it became the "kupaw" type of bands like Slapshock, Kamikaze, then it moved to more mellower sounding people like Rivermaya, Bamboo and Sandwich," he said.

Vicky Belo

Henares also revealed that NU 107 was conceived in order for him win over celebrity doctor Vicky Belo who, according to him, had crushes on many DJs (disc jockeys).

"I used to date Quark's mother Vicky. She had these crushes on DJs. Medyo nagselos ako. I told her 'Vicky, one of these days I will put a radio and TV station for you. It was really something I thought I could get into." Henares said.

Atom and Vicky have since split up.

New Wave

Henares also recalled how they started the station by just airing alternative rock music, which was also called "New Wave" at that time, back in the 80's.

"We started the station for about 6 weeks before we said who we were. We were playing alternative music, it was called new wave. Then one day, we said 'Hello good morning! This is the home of nu rock'... our telephone number is blank-blank-blank. If you want to say hi, please call us,' and (after) that, the phone rang for three hours." Henares said.

Legendary rocker Neil Young used to sing, "Rock and roll will never die." Henares hopes that despite NU's dispearance from the airwaves, people will "keep on rocking!"